Look Sharp

I recently went off the reservation my diet, and received a lovely parting gift for doing so.

I took my title from an old Gillette TV commercial – Look Sharp – Feel Sharp – Be Sharp.  I used to see them as a kid, when we watched boxing, wrestling or hockey.  I don’t know how old the ad in the YouTube video is, but they’re offering 20 tempered steel razor blades for 98¢, in a metal safety dispenser, with a built-in disposal compartment.  And if you buy right now, they’ll throw in a 35¢ tube of shave cream for free.

When I used to take the wife and daughter to the podiatrist, I got to sit in the waiting room, read a newspaper, solve a crossword puzzle.  Mr. COVID 19 won’t let me do that now.  I drop them off, and have a half-an-hour to wait.  I reward myself by driving a mile to a French fry wagon.  Two visits ago, I had their Nacho fries.  Last visit, I had poutine (above).  This last time I ordered their plain, crispy fries.

On a shelf below the order window, I noticed, what appeared to be a military dog-tag.  I picked it up and turned it over, to discover that it was a tiny folding pocket knife.  I published a post about the Leftovers knives that I possess, and later, made Hash with the ones that remained.  This is how I got some of them – I LOOK – SHARP!

When I showed it to the son, he dismissed it, saying that he could buy a package of three for $5.00.  The maker’s name, Bőker, is etched on the blade.  When I went to their website, I discovered that they call it (surprisingly) a dog-tag knife.  It is high-quality, and the retail price is $56.00 US, delivery extra.  I felt sorry for whoever had inadvertently left it behind, and almost left it there myself, before realizing that, if I didn’t pick it up, eventually, someone other than the owner would.

So, I have this lovely ladies’ purse knife, suitable as a seatbelt cutter, letter or package-opener.  What am I bid??  Offers must include the cost of shipping…. Or – I could use it as a prize in an online contest.  Guess how many marbles Archon has lost this month.   😕  😯

If you look sharp, there’ll be more of this edgy prose soon.  Slice through all those distractions, and come for a visit.  😀

Flash Fiction #163

Preserves

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

Lord, it’d been five years, and she still missed her Grandma.  She had loved Grandma, and Grandma had loved her, and all the other grandkids. 

Grandma’s love had seemed to be wrapped in food – homemade candy and cookies, turkey and stuffing and gravy – all the good stuff.  These were the last of her carefully rationed jars of Grandma’s dill pickles.  If only she’d thought to get Grandma to teach her how to make them.

She could buy pickles at the store, but none tasted as good, and certainly none of them held the care and love that Grandma put in.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

You Want It, We Got It

Junk

The wife and I are Mr. and Mrs. Just-In-Case. Over the years, if there’s been some small, inexpensive thing that could make our lives easier, we’ve purchased it.  As I bitched about in my ‘Autumn Housecleaning’ post, the problem is that we never get rid of things we no longer use.

Living as we have, in the same houses for decades, we have accumulated the greatest collection of ‘stuff’, some of it fairly non-standard.  We lived for a couple of years beside a single mother with two young daughters.  She acquired a long-term boyfriend who was there for more than just the free sex.  Whenever he tried to clean up, fix up or paint up, she never had any/the right tools, so she would tell him to go next door, and ask Archon if he might borrow something.

A tree branch had grown over the driveway where he wanted to park his car. Would I have a saw that he could use to cut it off?  We used to go camping when the kids were young.  How about a small, light bucksaw? Perfect!

Later, he wanted to clear out a lilac bush which had overgrown a fence corner. Did I have a small axe or hatchet that he could cut out the sucker shoots with? See ‘camping’, above.  Weekend after weekend this went on, many requests common, some, not as much.  A circular saw, a hand drill and set of bits, a pipe wrench(?), tape measure, carpenters’ level, (3-foot professional, or foot-long home version?) a pry-bar, (standard crowbar or 8 inch window jimmier?) all quickly, freely provided.

Finally, she wanted to reward him for the things he’d done around her place, by baking him a cake. For this, she wanted a spring-form cake pan.  “Go next door and ask (Mrs.) Archon if they have one.”  If it involves food, ‘Of course we do!’  As I handed it to him, he asked, “Do you guys have everything?”

I guess she didn’t understand the ‘spring-form’ concept. You’re supposed to unlatch the little clip on the side to increase the diameter and have the cake slide out.  Apparently she tried to remove it with a large butcher knife, ruining the non-stick, Teflon coating, and gouging the aluminum pan.  She felt badly, and bought a replacement at a Dollarama store, but it wasn’t the quality that the wife had found.

Loupe

Even now, there are things in our house that I’m sure few other homes contain. The son owns a jewellers’ loupe, that thing that you stick in your eye and hold in place with your eyebrow, which magnifies things 10 times.  He bought it from a local jeweller after he left high school, but can’t remember why.  I’ve used it often over the years to check the detail on some of the coins I’ve acquired.

Mortar and Pestle

Recently, the wife encountered a recipe that called for powdered ginger. We have fresh ginger root, grated ginger and dried, chunk ginger.  We also have a small, powerful little electric ‘thing’ useful for such tasks as grinding coffee.  It would quickly turn the dry chunks into powder, but the wife decided to go a different way.

(To the son) “Call your sister, and ask her if we can borrow her mortar and pestle.  She just bought one that she uses to crush herbs for cooking, home remedies and aromatherapy.”

The son replied, “Why bother her? When she bought the new one, I bought her old one from her.  It’s in my room.”  It now sits in pride of place, below the overstuffed spice rack in the kitchen, groaning under every spice known to man, and a couple only to Martians.  ‘Eat your heart out bland potatoes, Matt Damon.’

Into each life, a little weird must fall. It’s just that it falls a little harder and faster at our house.  😉

WOW #6

Dictionary

The Word Of this Week is one which I often run into while researching other words.  It is

Cognate

Linguistics. descended from the same language or form:
such cognate languages as French and Spanish.
or; allied or similar in nature or quality.

1635-45; < Latin cognātus, equivalent to co- co- + -gnātus (past participle of gnāscī, nāscī to be born)

For example, I will get ‘hound’ – a type of dog – (cogn. German, ‘hund’) showing where the word came from. (etymology)

It is a cousin to recognize, the action of again (re)perceiving someone’s familiar identity.

My Mother insisted that I not harass my brother by calling him stupid. She told me that people will live up (or down) to your expectations.  When he was three years old, my grandson told me that he could neckerize someone.  His pronunciation was a bit off, as many small children’s is, but his usage was right on.

As we did with our children, his mother never talked down to him. When our kids were young, we had neighbors who we were friends with.  Their son was my son’s age.  Forget ‘snips and snails and puppy dogs’ tails,’ this kid was made of high-tensile springs; forever skipping, running or hopping.  One day, the mother asked my wife, “Does your son never shut up?”  My wife rejoined, “Does yours never walk anywhere?”

Another time, Skippy’s mom suddenly complained, “Why don’t you ever talk to your kids like they’re children? How come you’re always using big words?  They don’t understand them.”

As the boys neared the end of Grade 7, they found that Skippy was failing English, and might be held back. My wife commiserated, and suggested that he might need some extra help.  Suddenly the accusation changed to, “It’s all right for you and your kid.  You’ve always used adult language with him.  No wonder he does well in English.”

My adopted cognomen is Archon, a name (cogn. Latin, nomen – name) with the same meaning as Grumpy Old Dude.   👿